I'm ready for the hatred constructive criticism I'll get from this opinion. I like TBL. I think it's an improvement over Ring of Scale. I'm not saying TBL is perfect, I'll list some of the things I don't like in a while. Before I list the things I like about TBL, I'll say plainly that I'm not a raider. I know that sounds weird, but there are people in the game that don't raid. They also have opinions. Now to the stuff I like! 1. Story- This is the first time since Plains of Power that I've liked the story that EQ has presented. I've read quest dialogue and NPC dialogue many times over the years. Recently, I recall playing through parts of the story (progression) in EoK and RoS. It was generic and miserable. That's my opinion as a reader. The sarnaks, goblins, and silly dragons all bored me to tears. Now we have genies, with cool names, who have motivations, desires, and, best of all, flaws. It's actually something I enjoyed, and I look forward to reading more stuff from TBL. 2. Progression- My friends told me that the progression in TBL is "similar" to The Darkened Sea, in that it has a progression path that is outside of partisan and mercenary tasks. I didn't play during The Darkened Sea era, but I would like more of this style of progression. In EoK and RoS, the mercenary tasks were pathetically stupid. I was gathering giant's toenails, or giant's toenail fungus, or oranges off the ground, and right clicking things to test water samples? It's really forgettable stuff. The same can be said of the partisan tasks. Very menial, very pointless, and very required to request missions and get that awesome-sauce EotD (which I never got and don't care about). In TBL, the progession is a few, and relatively painless, quests with some missions and trials thrown in between. I know it was a lot more painful when TBL came out than it is now, but I'll get into that later. I can go back to do mercenary and partisan quests for some hero's aa's I think. But I'm not required to. I'm not being forced to collect the effluvial grime off of a drachnids spinnerette because "reasons". I do have to collect a couple severed heads. I'm ok with that. 3. Missions and Trials- There're a bunch of them. Most of them give loot, unless it's Fight Fire which never gives me anything. I'm very glad for them, as they each present different challenges and new things to learn, and of course some new mechanics or aa's to abuse. There is even some lore and story thrown into the missions, which is very unlike RoS and EoK. I recall killing a giant cactus, a bunch of sarnaks, and then killing a bunch of sarnaks again in the RoS missions. Then there was that two group mission in the zone I never got flagged for because it was a huge pain. That was absolute crap, and now that we're in TBL, I've gotten paragon on most of my characters. Had fun doing it too. 4. The Gear- I feel like.... yeah. This is how gear should work. The tier 1 and 2 gear is gotten from missions, namers, and trials. Then that nice tier 3 gear has to be crafted, but requires the muhbis lamp. So, to get the best gear, I didn't wind up grinding TBL missions over and over until I finally got the tunic. Or whatever piece I was missing. I think it's a brilliant design. Get that one muhbis, and turn it into whatever piece you need. The drop rate on the muhbis was actually pretty good. I've seen 2 muhbis drop many times, and getting gear in this expansion did not require mind-numbing farming. 5. That teleportation lamp- It's amazing. I can't recall Daybreak ever giving us something like this before, but correct me if I am wrong. It's available to all players, not just premium or collector's edition buyers. It helps out a ton; am I wrong? After you and your friends all got the lamp wasn't it nice to teleport wherever you needed to be? And no one gets left behind just because they didn't pay an extra $60 for the expansion. I'm kind of shocked. I almost think this was a mistake. Now I'll get into some problems. Pretty big problems. Not sure how daybreak keeps finding a way to make new mistakes, but they do. Here we go -1. Holy poop, everything hits like a truck- This is my opinion as of right now, and apparently the whole expansion was actually tuned down while I was taking a break. I can't even imagine how bad it was in December/January. When I came back to the game with my 110 pally, I ground up a few of the easy tanking aa's and strolled right into TBL wearing tier 2 RoS gear. I had pretty good augs, maxed out all the best aa's, and I got my butt handed to me. Correction: I was wearing tier 2 RoS gear with GMM gear mixed in. Right, so I should have been doing pretty well, but I didn't. Even with real cleric players or shaman I spent most of my time in purple or just plain dead. I guess I'm pretty casual though, so there are some rare things or hard to get augs that I haven't gotten for myself. I don't have the tear of alaris, or even my epic. Honestly though, I don't think they would have saved me much pain. I'm doing better now that my friends have carried me a long way. I have 6544 ac, without a power source or stat food. It's enough, Just barely enough, but enough. That being said, I don't have very far to go to get the best group gear that I can, so it seems like daybreak expected us to grind for gear at every stage of the expansion before moving on. It feels counterintuitive. -2. Sure glad I've got a full group- My group is almost always full of real players. I kinda 6 box, my friends kinda 6 box too, but when we're all together we play one or two accts at the most because there are 5 of us. Let's forget about boxing for a bit and imagine that you don't have that many friends. Maybe you're in a small guild, god knows there are many, many players in small guilds. And then of course you add in a merc or two, or three, to fill the gaps. You are in for the absolute worst slog through the dirt that you can imagine. Mercs are awful. No, mercs were awful before TBL, now they're worthless, brainless, plat-sucking garbage. They are terrible with or without aa's. My mercs have more than 250 aa's now, and they cannot heal, cannot tank, and they put out DPS that belongs in EoK. Let's put aside my loathing of Ring of Scale for a moment, because I can say something good about it. I knew people that completed all the progression (not the missions, just the mercenary and partisan) with mercs. To be perfectly clear, this kind of difficulty, in group play, does not influence people to make more friends, or join larger guilds. This drives people away from the game. Daybreak, there is nothing you can do to force people to play the way you want them to. People like being in small guilds, they like soloing, they are comfortable with their small group of friends. Make mercs viable party members. Do it yesterday. -3. Anyone need that trash in the chest?- Nope. We don't need it, because some of the trials and missions are too difficult. By the time your group is able to finish Rusted Cliff's Glory, you are wearing better stuff. It might drop a muhbis though! At least I think it can. The only reason to do that trial is to get that checkmark. Never going back to it unless I have to, and there are much easier ways of getting much better loot. I'm not a fan of Prince Ralaifin or Brass Palace either. Those are tier 1 missions, but the difficulty feel like tier 2 to me. I'm not the highest quality player, or tank, or anything, but I do feel that the rewards need to be pumped up a bit. Sweeten those chests somehow. Also, Contract of War. I've never seen a muhbis in that chest. It doesn't make sense that I can do an easy-peasy trial of three for a muhbis, but this tier 2 mission is super stingy. Not sure why. Someone correct me if you've gotten a muhbis from it, it could be just bad luck for me. So that's it for me. TLDR, I'm gonna keep playing. Playing EQ with friends is a lot better than playing a better game...by myself. I welcome any discussion, but if you want to talk about the raiding aspect of TBL, there is already a long thread about that, so give that a try.